Current and former smokers worried about the potential for lung cancer will find that screening exams that draw on CT scan technology can provide them more definitive information about the presence – or absence – of this potentially fatal disease. Courtesy of the National Lung Cancer Screening trail, doctors are fast finding that CT scans deliver a much more reliable look inside the body than standard X-ray screens used in the past.
The national trial compared the results of CT scans of the lungs versus the use of standard chest X-rays and their ability to detect lung cancer. The two technologies are similar, but the CT scan delivers an edge, researchers concluded. Whereas a typical X-ray only produces a single image, the CT scan is also to obtain a multiple-image scan of the whole chest. The end result is a much clearer picture of any abnormalities, even smaller ones that X-rays might miss.
Study results showed the benefits of CT versus X-rays were undeniable. Patients who happened to test positive for lung cancer that underwent CT scans had a 15 to 20 percent lower chance of dying from the disease than those who ultimately tested positive following X-ray scans. The difference, researchers say, is in the ability of the CT scans to more readily detect lung cancer in early stages. This, in turn, gives doctors a greater ability to treat the disease and save lives.
Lung cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. People who are at risk for this disease are urged to discuss screening for it with their healthcare providers. Early detection can lead to faster, life-saving intervention. Smokers who have yet to kick the habit are also urged to take measures to do so. Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer; a risk that can often be reduced or eliminated by simply kicking the habit.